Be My Valentine

THE feeling of love is a lovely feeling. If you have loved, you would know what it means. If you haven't, it only tells what you miss. French mathematician Blaise Pascal says the heart has its reasons that reason doesn't know. In love it's the other way around. It has its feelings that only feeling knows. Love is when every heartbeat turns into music.

Love isn't without its moments of dissonance. It gets distracted, often distorted, even discontinued. Like lovers, love also has its allocated time. At some point the music stops. But in spite of it, Lord Alfred Tennyson tells us that it's better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all. It's worth falling in love and having heartbreaks than never to have taken your chance.

True, love needs to be communicated, but words are the weakest form of communication. After all, they are merely symbols, lacking substance. It is actions that count. William Shakespeare (1564 ~ 1616) did not say "They do not love who do not SAY they love." Rather, he said "They do not love who do not SHOW their love."

German poet Goethe says what is important in life is life itself, not a result of life. Likewise, what is important in love is love itself, not a result of love. So, why bother if you succeed or fail in love? Why must you look before you leap into its blissful arm? Thoughts too long make life short. Love always lifts your soul, though it might often let you down afterwards.

In 11th century France, the uncle of Heloise castrated her lover Peter Abelard. Abelard became a monk and dedicated his life to learning. The heartbroken Helosie became a nun. Despite their sufferings and separations, Abelard and Heloise remained in love. What does it tell? Love has the power to bind two hearts even when their bodies are pulled asunder. Lust is storm in flesh. Love is gentle breeze blowing in blood.

Queen Victoria of England was so devastated by the death of Prince Albert that she didn't appear in public for three years. She wore black until the last day of her life and mourned the death of her husband for 40 years after he died. But love doesn't always lead to grieving. Often it also inspires great work. When Pierre Curie passed away, his wife Marie Curie pledged to carry on his work. She became the first person to win a second Nobel Prize.

So, love is lovely although it can hurt sometimes. It can enervate; it can devastate. It can alleviate; it can aggravate. It can bridge the gap; it can widen the chasm. Love is blind; it can also open your eyes. It's the blindness that shows the shimmering lights on the hill. It can also wind into a blind alley that takes you down to an ocean of grief.

But that is one risk worth taking. If you will never love in life, you will never be loved in return. A moment of love exhilarates a thousand births. Thousand deaths are mourned in one loveless life. If you love to live, I say, why not live to love?

If you are looking for someone to live with, you need to find one you can't live without. Only love can reconcile this contradiction. It defeats mathematics; its alchemy fuses two into one. It might sound mushy, but lovers embrace this absurd rule. Love is the yearning of two halves. It brings them together into a blissful union and makes one complete whole.

If you must express your love with words, don't just say "I love you," but explain what you mean by 'love.' For example, compare these two sentences:

1. "I love you."

2. "I respect, admire, and believe in you. I delight in your company and am proud and happy to be married to you."

Which would you rather hear from your partner? Which are you currently using?

But as powerful as the words in sentence two are, they will become tarnished, weakened, and crumble unless they are backed up with actions that prove you mean what you say.

Shakespeare's Romeo says that love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs. He says that being purged, love is a fire in the lover's eye, but being vexed it's a sea nourished with loving tears. Then he asks what else is love. The answer he gives is that it's madness most discreet, choking gall and a preserving sweet. Romeo, however, cautions that love isn't a tender thing. It's too rough, too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn.

Thus, the experience of love isn't a bed of roses, but a bed of roses is an experience of love. There is an interesting story in Greek mythology about how roses became a symbol of love. Chloris, the Goddess of flowers, created rose by giving life to the lifeless body of a nymph. Aphrodite, the Goddess of love, gave her beauty and Dionysus, the God of wine, gave her fragrance. Rose has been popular amongst lovers for centuries because it stands for brightness, joy and charm.

On this Valentine's Day, pick your roses and make up your mind. One red rose, if you love someone. A lilac rose for love at first sight. In some traditions one red rose could mean she is your only love. Eleven roses mean she is your favourite one, ninety-nine roses mean you are forever in love with her, and hundred roses mean you want to marry her.

One life to live, but live it with the magic of love. You will live many lives in one and wish this one life weren't so short!


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